WCO Europe Regional Heads of Customs Conference in Russia

13 April 2018

At the invitation of Mr.Ruslan Davydov, First Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the WCO Europe Region Heads of Customs Conference, held in Sochi, Russia from 12 to 13 April 2018.

Mr. Davydov and Mr. S. Yurchenko, Vice-Mayor of Sochi extended warm words of welcome to the delegates representing the Region’s 34 Members present. A welcome address from the office of the Minister of Finance, Mr. A Siluanov, was also read out to delegates.

Mr. Kadyrkulov, a Member of the Board for the Customs Cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) provided delegates with an update on recent EEC developments, including the setting up of a transit system, and the adoption of a new Customs Code, and expressed the hope for further close cooperation with, and eventual membership of the WCO. 

Secretary General Mikuriya set the context for the meeting by outlining the current position of the six priorities of the WCO. As regards Trade Facilitation, Secretary General Mikuriya emphasized the excellent relationship that the WCO has with the WTO, adding that the WCO had been invited to attend the next meeting of the Trade Facilitation Committee set up under the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Work on the second priority area, E-commerce, was progressing, towards the presentation of an outline of a framework of standards to the WCO Council in June. Secretary General Mikuriya went on to highlight progress made in the other priority areas: Security, Illicit Financial Flows, Customs-Tax cooperation and Performance Measurement.

Secretary General Mikuriya then drew delegates’ attention to the suggestion that the Revised Kyoto Convention would be reviewed. This would become an additional area of priority should the Council so decide. A longer-term proposal to revise the Harmonized System Convention was also mentioned. The Secretary General looked forward to the delegates’ response on the work carried out in the six priority areas and any possible suggestions for additions to the current list. 

The meeting discussed the compatibility of transit systems in the WCO Europe Region, the use of additional languages at the WCO, E-commerce, combatting Illicit Financial Flows, cooperation with the IMF, accessions to the WCO, Governance and the Region’s representation within WCO Bodies. 

Delegates also listened to reports on the work of the Finance Committee, Audit Committee and WCO Regional bodies (ROCBs, RILOs). 

Secretary General Mikuriya joined the delegates in thanking the Russian Federation for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to them.